Thunbergia: extravagant & eye-catching
Black-eyed Susan vine which is also known as clock vine (Thunbergia alata) is most often found as a twining climber in hanging baskets. (Not to be confused with Rudbeckia spp.) As the name suggests, the small 2.5cm (1″) wide flowers with their 5 yellow petals and black eyes resemble the perennial blackeyed Susan. With its delicate heart shaped leaves and fine, twining vines, black-eyed Susan vine makes a graceful climber up to 2m (6.5’) high. The plant prefers full sun, fertile soil, and ample moisture. You’ll get the best performance from plants protected from hot drying winds. (Tender Thunbergia leaves readily wind-burn.)
Cup & Saucer Canterbury Bells: perfect for the traditional English country garden
The cup and saucer vine (Cobaea scandens), also known as cathedral bells is a vigorous annual climber that holds itself by means of tendrils. Modified leaves, known as sepals, form the green saucer on which the long violet bells appear – amazingly, the flower can be up to 7.5cm (3″) long. Plant into well drained fertile soils exposed to full. The flat winged shaped seed should be started about 6 to 8 weeks indoors in Jiffy pots using a soil-less mix. Set the seed on their edges in the mix with the just the
top third of the seed exposed.
Canary Creeper: demonstrative and never shy
Canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum) is a pleasantly rampant vine with slender delicate stems and large numbers of fringed pale yellow flowers. Culturally, this member of the nasturtium family prefers semi-shaded areas with moist well drained soils. It requires support to climb. I planted the seed directly outside in my garden (in Guelph, Ontario) in late May. On the advice of a gardening friend, I mixed this vine with annual sweet peas. I must say, the results were spectacular.
Moonflower: a must have exotic
Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) is a gorgeous member of the morning glory family. This vine with its large heart shaped leaves grows rapidly in sunny areas where moisture isn’t limiting. A great plant for providing living screens. It is the flowers that set this plant apart from the other vines – spectacularly huge 15cm (6″) wide, pure white fragrant flowers open at dusk and close by mid-morning of the next day. To get a jump on the season, I start my seed indoors using a soil-less mix and Jiffy pots in late-April. Direct seeding in late May and early June is possible in warm summer climates.
Ornamental gourds & mini-pumpkins: guaranteed to be a conversation starter
How about ornamental gourds or mini-pumpkins? Ornamental gourds come in a wide range of fruit shapes, colours and sizes. For vertical gardens, gourds & mini-pumpkins adapt well to sturdy trellises. These plants climb by means of tendrils on the leaflets and require substantial supports if you don’t want the whole thing to collapse when the fruit matures. Large leaves, vigorous growth and interesting fruit make for interesting climbers. Culturally they like open well drained soil, enjoy frequent feedings with a high phosphorus fertilizer and require copious amounts of water.